The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground. Photo source: The British Monarchy. Photo © Press Association
Note: The article below is from the Guardian.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall took to the London tube on Wednesday and appeared mightily impressed. For the one-stop ride they boarded a brand new train – empty on arrival – to be whisked along the Metropolitan line from Farringdon to King’s Cross.
Once they had alighted they reverted to a more familiar mode of travel, using a chauffeur-driven limo for the 200-yard hop to the five-star St Pancras Renaissance hotel.
The couple were marking the 150th anniversary of the capital’s transport network and to add authenticity to their experience were equipped with Oyster cards pre-loaded with £10 each for the £2.10 journey, despite both qualifying for an over-60s Freedom Pass.
It has been a while since the prince caught the tube, 27 years in fact, when he travelled to Heathrow airport to open Terminal 4. Though he had not swiped an Oyster card before, he got the hang of it
The public were allowed to board the train at Farringdon, with a group of police officers standing between passengers and the royal party, which included senior transport officials.
Charles seemed a little disappointed at the brevity of his journey. “Just one stop!” he exclaimed, as they arrived at King’s Cross.
But the couple’s fantasy experience continued. At the station’s famed sign for Harry Potter’s Platform 9¾, Camilla sought to board the Hogwarts Express by trying to push a trolley through the station wall (a trolley sheared in half is usually left stuck to the brickwork for visitors’ enjoyment). She failed.
They then went on a tour of King’s Cross station where they met people at a concourse pub – including two wearing exactly the sort of earpieces that plain clothes protection officers often sport.
At the St Pancras Renaissance hotel, which has had a £150m refurbishment, they rounded off their visit by knocking back a glass of Billy Dawson’s punch (a Victorian rum and cognac drink) inside the Booking Office restaurant and bar.
The royal couple had been along the route of the underground’s first line, which opened on 9 January 1863 and ran services between Paddington and Farringdon. The train used for the occasion on Wednesday was one of London Underground’s new S-Stock, which are being introduced to 40% of the tube network. “Very nice, very smart,” the duchess remarked.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010